Earth, water, fire and air – since the birth of philosophy those four terms have been considered the original principles of the world, the four elements of which all forms of life are composed. For modern science, however, this is nothing but mythology, for science knows that the elements, too, are compositions. In his cycle of sonnets, Franz Josef Czernin puts both opinions to the test: The proto-categories of the elements are not only his topic, they also determine the form of his poetry. Language, and in particular poetic language, is scattered with "elementary" metaphors: Expressions such as "I took fire", "he was in deep water" or "all our plans are in the air" refer, beyond their direct plasticity, to something that reaches deep down to the very roots and nature of language.
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